Epiphany Term 2016 - Number 9
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Dear <<First Name>>,
A very early Easter this year means that this "Epiphany" newsletter is being written in the light of Easter. While still the Easter Vacation (just about!) there is a good number of students who have been around some weeks already, preparing for their "summatives" or end of year exams.
The early Easter also means that we can already report with joy the reception into the full communion of the Catholic Church of John Morris (St John's, Theology) - pictured right with fr. Ben and Julia Tomas (Ustinov, Classics), standing in for sponsor Andrew Coy (St John's, History, 2012-2015). This took place along with John's confirmation at the Easter Vigil at St Cuthbert's. We rejoice too in the Confirmation of Bethanie Pelloquin (St Mary's, Biological Sciences) which took place at the Easter Vigil in her home parish. Other students are preparing for the sacraments early in the new term - watch this space!
Please keep these students in your prayers as their journey in faith continues, and pray for the work of the Chaplaincy making Christ and his Church known in the University.

News of the Term

Most of Epiphany Term fell during Lent, and perhaps can be considered under the headings of the traditional Lenten penitential practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

To lead us in prayer we were delighted to welcome as visiting preacher at Sunday Masses Most Rev. Patrick Kelly (left), Archbishop Emeritus of Liverpool.

We were also joined by St Chad's alumnus Fr Mark Woodruff, who serves at the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in London. Fr Mark celebrated with us the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom (i.e. the Mass according to the Byzantine tradition) and gave a talk about the Church East and West.

Each Friday in Lent was marked by the celebration of Stations of the Cross followed either by Lectio Divina - prayerful reading of the scriptures - or an improving Lenten film.
The Lenten retreat - undertaken jointly with the Dominican-run Catholic Chaplaincy at Edinburgh University - was to a new location, the Whitchester Christian Guest House just over the Scottish border at Hawick. In a year that sees both the Jubilee of Mercy and the Jubilee for 800 years since the foundation of the Order of Preachers, Dominican Friars and Sisters led a retreat entitled Jesus the Jubilee. But it was not all prayer and penance: we stopped at the border for a snowball fight on our way back!
Gatherings of the Catholic Society through the term seemed to focus almsgiving: or how we can help others less fortunate than ourselves. Talks covered a Christian response to the refugee crisis; the work of the Society of St Vincent de Paul in relieving poverty in Durham and further afield; and the plight of Christians in the Holy Land.  
And there was a little bit of fasting too: or at least, during Lent our weekly breakfasts following Lauds (Morning Prayer) were bacon-free zones! But that was not until after we had joined together with the Durham University Ecumenical Christian Council (DUECC) and other Christian societies and chaplaincies to celebrate Shrove Tuesday with our annual Pancake Party!
As always we can't tell you about everything going on in this brief newsletter: our website ( and facebook page ( are full of events making a full and varied programme of activities, laid on by the Chaplaincy or others around Durham. Do head over and have a peek at what's happening.

Comings and Goings

The end of Epiphany term sees the Catholic Society's AGM and the handover to a new team. The new President is Giulia Gilmore, studying Modern Languages at St John's. Though she's only a first year, as a Durham local she has actually known the Chaplaincy longer than most students, not to mention the Chaplain!

L to R: Social Secretary James Finnegan (St Mary's), fr. Ben, Vice-President Julia Rynkiewicz (Collingwood), Outgoing President Dominic Goodall (Collingwood), President Giulia Gilmore (St John's), Secretary Emma Bonnard (Van Mildert), Treasurer Gabriel Kalchiem (St John's), Prayer and Worship Secretary John Morris (St John's).

Also at the end of term it was announced that the Master of the Order of Preachers (the Dominicans) has asked fr. Ben to become Procurator General of the Order in the autumn. The Procurator General is the Order's representative to the Holy See (aka "The Vatican") and a member of the General Council of the Order. This means that fr. Ben will be leaving Durham at the end of this academic year.

While the coming challenges will be exciting, fr. Ben is very sorry to be leaving Durham; the city and university have given a very warm welcome and the Chaplaincy has been a stimulating place to be for the last four years.

Please pray for fr. Ben has he takes up his new role, and for those who will be working to find a successor over coming months. Pray too for the new Chaplain and CathSoc Exec in their coming service.

An invitation...

We very much value the continuing support of alumni as part of the Chaplaincy community in Durham. You are always welcome to drop by, but we especially invite alumni to the annual Mass of Thanksgiving and Garden Party. This takes place on the last Saturday in Easter Term, 18 June 2016; the Mass starts at 12:15pm and is followed by a celebratory barbecue lunch and drinks. Do drop us a line at if you are able to come.
As this will be fr. Ben's last such celebration as Chaplain, we hope that as many alumni as possible from his four years in Durham will be able to join us.
Do you have any news to share? Let us know at

Pass it on...

Lent has now turned to Easter joy, and spring is well advanced. Please keep us in your prayers, that the joy of the resurrection may shine through the coming exam stress.

If you know any Catholic alumni who aren't getting this newsletter, do pass it on and encourage them to sign up on our website, You can also share this newsletter on Facebook or tweet on Twitter using the buttons at the bottom of the message.

Wishing you every blessing in our risen Lord,

fr. Benjamin Earl OP

Giulia Gilmore
CathSoc President 2016-2017

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